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XL Recordings
Arca’s third album is by far his most personal work to date; the London-based, Venezuela-born artist steps out from the layers of processing and production that have characterized his previous work, and gets up close and vulnerable on this magnificent, eponymous LP. ‘Arca’ also marks the first time the musician sings in his native Spanish, and the tender honesty of these vocals feel as if they’ve been influenced by the time he’s spent working with Björk. Longtime visual collaborator Jesse Kanda returns with a striking cover and video for ‘Anoche’, which portrays violence meshing with sexuality in a sharp relief compared to their previous works together. Musically, the same fragile purity carries through all of the mostly digital instrumentation and singing; the tracks feel as if they’ve been recorded in single takes as if to capture the emotional snapshots they’re trying to portray as honestly as possible. Overall, the album stands as a masterpiece of avant-garde electronic music that encapsulates 2017 and will be remembered as one of this year’s finest works. Zara Wladawsky